Max Verstappen has one big regret about Alonso's departure

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As Fernando Alonso prepares to bid goodbye to F1, Max Verstappen admits there's one thing he'll forever regret about the Spaniard leaving the sport.

The Red Bull driver and Alonso have been at opposite ends in the past couple of years, on both F1's age and competitive spectrum.

While the Dutchman has raked in five wins since 2015, his McLaren counter-part has lingered endlessly in F1's mid-field with no hope of adding to his career tally of 32 career wins.

"It's a bit of a shame I never really raced against him," said Verstappen.

"Of course he was in F1 while I was there, but I never really had a fight with him because he's always been at the back because of the issues they had.

"That's one thing I regret. I've been racing against Seb, Lewis already, and that's been nice.

"But never with Fernando, who back in the day when I was watching TV he was always the one really fighting them as well.

"So, it's nice that I raced with him, but I never got to fight against him, which is a shame."

However, according to many in the paddock, F1 may not have heard the last of Fernando Alonso. So Verstappen could still one day enjoy that fierce wheel-to-wheel battle that he so longed for.

"I think for the moment Fernando takes a sabbatical," said his long-time manager Flavio Briatore.

"We will see what happens. He has had four genuinely frustrating years with a ridiculous performance by McLaren."

Former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone with his friend Briatore that Abu Dhabi may not have been the last blast for Alonso.

"I have the feeling he will come back, because F1 still needs him," said the 88-year-old at Yas Marina.

"I don't care what the team is, although I doubt he can go back to Ferrari or will go back with McLaren.

"I know that if he had a winning car, he would never have left. He may have made wrong decisions when choosing his team, but that doesn't mean it wasn't sad to see him suffer in recent years."

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